Russell McVeagh guides ASX lister on cross-border leasing acquisition

The deal facilitates the creation of a $2.5bn company

Russell McVeagh guides ASX lister on cross-border leasing acquisition

Russell McVeagh has guided ASX lister SG Fleet Group on a cross-border leasing acquisition that sees the fleet leasing provider pick up LeasePlan New Zealand Limited.

The acquisition is part of a bigger deal that also has SG Fleet taking ownership of LeasePlan's business in Australia. Overall, the acquisition will result in the creation of a $2.5bn company.

The combined company will oversee a total of 250,000 vehicles, providing a fleet management and leasing offering in both Australia and New Zealand. In line with an international alliance agreement between SG Fleet and LeasePlan, the companies will refer customers to and share knowledge with each other in the markets where they are not competitors, according to a media release by SG Fleet.

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The agreement came into force on 1 September.

“This is a significant milestone in the company’s evolution and brings together the best of two already highly-regarded businesses. The combined team is very excited to start taking full advantage of the potential created by joining forces with a highly respected industry peer,” SG Fleet CEO Robbie Blau said.

LeasePlan CEO and chairman Tex Gunning, who will join SG Fleet’s board as director, said that the deal creates “a true leasing powerhouse in Australia and New Zealand.”

“Together, the combined business will be in an even stronger position to lead the subscription megatrend and provide compelling products and services to its customers in the region,” he said.

Russell McVeagh co-lead partner Deemple Budhia added that the acquisition would “deliver greater scale across operations, funding and procurement activities for SG Fleet, and additional value for its customers.”

The firm said that it guided SG Fleet on the refinancing of the combined lease portfolio, which included implementing a securitisation warehouse to snap up LeasePlan's receivable assets immediately once the acquisition was complete. New Zealand and overseas financiers provided the funding for the securitisation warehouse.

Russell McVeagh’s team also provided input on the New Zealand aspects of SG Fleet’s corporate debt facilities.

Budhia helmed the team alongside tax partner Fred Ward. They received support from senior associate Jesse Fairley; senior solicitors Jemma Milicich and Simon Mackley; and Richelle Go Ocao of the finance group, among others.

SG Fleet also received advice from Simpson Grierson with regard to the New Zealand aspects of the acquisition deal. Under the leadership of partners Michael Pollard and James Hawes, the firm’s team provided input on the sale terms, due diligence and foreign investment clearances.

“We are fortunate to have worked on such a transformational deal for SG Fleet – a deal that provides it with greater scale, opportunities for technological innovation and the delivery of better outcomes for customers,” Pollard said.

Simpson Grierson confirmed that the deal was valued at AU$273m (cash consideration), coupled with an equity interest in SG Fleet valued at AU$114m (13% interest).

On the Australia end, Gilbert + Tobin advised on the Australian aspects of the acquisition, while Clayton Utz assisted on the financing elements.

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